Faculty of Arts & Science
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South Asian Studies

South Asian Studies Programs

Students study South Asia in an approach attentive to global formations. They are introduced to the study of South Asia—Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka—through a wide angle view of Asian modernities, political economies, and cultures, all the while delving into to specialist close-ups of South Asia. With open access to comparative courses in the Contemporary Asian Studies program, students can learn from tenured and tenure-track faculty specialists in South, East, and Southeast Asia.

With a curriculum motivated by the moving present—the changing face of South Asia today—the South Asian Studies minor offers rigorous training in major debates and questions in the rich field of South Asian Studies, and provides a basic foundation for many directions of future study. From historical contexts of ethnic conflict, to postcolonial readings of ancient traditions, to the politics of religious and ethnic identities, to the workings of vast-scale democracy and capitalism, to the worlds of cinema and public culture, students are exposed to the dynamic landscapes—political, material, and mythic—that constitute South Asia today.   

Program Administrator
Munk School of Global Affairs, 1 Devonshire Place, room 228N

South Asian Studies Minor (Arts Program)

This program has unlimited enrolment and no specific admission requirements. All students who have completed at least 4.0 courses are eligible to enrol.

(4 full courses or their equivalent)

  1. SAS114H1
  2. CAS200Y1
  3. SAS318H1 or HIS282Y1
  4. CAS310H1 or CAS320H1
  5. Additional 1.0 or 1.5 FCEs (as necessary to total 4.0 FCEs in minor) from the list of eligible courses found below.

Courses Eligible for Program Credit

In addition to SAS courses, students may choose from the following courses as electives. For full course descriptions, please check with the sponsoring departments. Not all electives are offered every year. Students are responsible for checking co- and pre-requisites for all elective courses as well as priority controls. Students who wish to count courses towards the program that are not listed here (including U of T courses and transfer credits) must seek permission from the program director IN ADVANCE. Course approval is not guaranteed and will be given at the discretion of the program director. Please consult the program administrator at ai.asianstudies@utoronto.ca with questions.

ANT352H1         South Asia: Practices, Theories, Representations
ANT467H1         Ethnographies of Contemporary South Asia
CAS350H1        Asian Youth Cultures*
CAS360H1        Asian Genders*
CAS390H1        Special Topics in Contemporary Asian Studies*
CAS400Y1        Critical Perspectives on Asian Modernity*          
CAS420H1        Asia and the New Global Economy*
CAS430H1        Nationalism and Revolution in Asia*      
CAS440H1        Critical Asia: Power and Culture*
CAS490H1        Special Topics in Contemporary Asian Studies*
CAS498H1/Y1   Independent Research
ENG369H1        South Asian Literatures in English 
FAH364H1        Art and Architecture in South Asia*  
HIS282Y1         History of South Asia   
HIS470H1         Rights in South Asia   
HIN212Y5Y       Introduction to Hindi (at UTM)    
HIN312Y5Y       Intermediate Hindi (at UTM)       
JPA410H1         Democracy and Identity in Asia
LGGA70H3        Introductory Hindi I (at UTSc)*   
LGGA71H3        Introductory Hindi II (at UTSc)*  
POL328Y1        Politics and Government in South Asia*  
RLG205Y1        The Hindu Religious Tradition 
RLG311H1        Gender, Body and Sexuality in Asian Traditions
RLG363H1        Bhakti Hinduism
RLG366H1        Hindu Philosophy (Godless India)
RLG368H1        Yoga and Ayurveda
RLG377H1        Theravada Literature
RLG378H1        Buddhism in Nepal
RLG462H1        Newar Religion
RLG463H1        Causation and Time in Buddhist Scholastic Debate
RLG465H1        Buddhist Texts Readings: Buddhism as Translation*
RLG467H1        Theravada Practice 

*Courses for which South Asian Studies students have priority enrolment

South Asian Studies Courses

SAS114H1    Introduction to South Asian Studies (formerly SAS114Y1)[24L]

An interdisciplinary introduction to South Asian Studies emphasizing inquiry and critical analysis, drawing attention to the specificities of individual nations as well as the factors (historical, political, economic and cultural) that define South Asia as a region. Some attention will be paid to the South Asian Diaspora.

Exclusion: NEW114Y1, SAS114Y1
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

SAS212Y1    Introduction to Hindi[96L]

Intensive introduction to phonology, grammar, syntax of the modern Hindi language; emphasis on basic writing and reading.

Exclusion: NEW212Y1, SAS202Y1; enrolment subject to placement evaluation
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

SAS216H1    South Asia: Perspectives on Politics and Society[24L]

A critical overview of South Asia, considering historical and social factors that account for both distinctiveness and connections among nations and communities. Special attention to the major role played by postcolonial histories in establishing the separate trajectories of each nation while preserving the significance of the region as a whole.

Exclusion: NEW216H1
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

SAS318H1    Colonialism and Tradition[24L]

This course analyzes the impact of colonialism in South Asia and the various ways in which tradition intersect with and reshape colonialism in postcolonial South Asia. The course will examine the role of religion, education, ethnicity, gender, and caste. Some attention will be paid to postcolonial and indigenous theory.

Prerequisite: At least 6 FCEs
Recommended Preparation: SAS114H1/Y1
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

SAS413H1    Asia and Canada[24S]

This course is an interactive, participatory seminar. It will provide an opportunity to complement theoretical understanding about Asia acquired in other courses through hands-on research and experiential learning. The course will enable students to link studying Asia and Canada to career trajectories in the field of development and research.

Prerequisite: At least 8 FCEs
Exclusion: NEW413H1
Recommended Preparation: SAS114H1/Y1
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a TBA course
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

SAS414H1    Public Culture and Media in Asia[24S]

This upper-level seminar will introduce students to the interdisciplinary study of popular culture and mass-mediated cultural forms in Asia. Through readings about popular protest, festivals, cinema, print, television, and music this course provides methodological tools to interpret the politics of representation and the formation of alternative modernities in the Asian continent and among the diaspora. The course will furthermore familiarize students with a range of theoretical lenses for conceptualizing the different meanings of the public from a modern Asian perspective.

Prerequisite: At least 12 FCEs
Exclusion: NEW414H1
Recommended Preparation: SAS114H1/Y1
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Social Science course
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)